Tony Sil­vestri locked out of his Har­bour Tow­ers

The Day - - REGION - DAVID COLLINS d.collins@the­day.com

I na cu­ri­ous foot­note to the aban­don­ment of New Lon­don Har­bour Tow­ers by its prin­ci­pal back­ers, the orig­i­nal de­vel­oper of the Bank Street con­do­mini­ums, Tony Sil­vestri, has been or­dered by the unit own­ers to stay out of the build­ing.

“You are hereby warned and no­ti­fied to CEASE AND DE­SIST all such un­law­ful en­try and re­moval of prop­erty from New Lon­don Har­bour Tow­ers IM­ME­DI­ATELY,” at­tor­ney Amanda Sis­ley, rep­re­sent­ing the Har­bour Tow­ers home­own­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion, wrote to Sil­vestri in March.

The let­ter, which re­quested the im­me­di­ate re­turn of all mas­ter keys and key fobs, did sug­gest he may be able to gain en­trance to the build­ing in the fu­ture for some spe­cific agreed upon main­te­nance tasks.

The home­own­ers also have sued the back­ers whom Sil­vestri re­cruited to fin­ish the pro­ject he started, mem­bers of the Tagli­atela fam­ily, claim­ing “un­eth­i­cal and un­scrupu­lous” prac­tices while they were still in­volved in man­age­ment of the build­ing.

At the end of 2017, the Tagli­ate­las gave away 21 of the apart­ments, over a third of the to­tal of 52, which re­mained un­sold eight years af­ter they were built.

Filed in the law­suit is a long list of prob­lems with the build­ing, from cracks in the swim­ming pool to raw sewage leaks in­side the build­ing.

When I caught up with Sil­vestri this week to ask about the cease-and-de­sist let­ter, he said that it was based on a mis­un­der­stand­ing and that the is­sues have been re­solved.

I asked him to ask at­tor­ney Sis­ley to tell me if that is the case but he did not sug­gest he would call her.

Sis­ley had ear­lier de­clined to com­ment on the let­ter when I reached her to ask about it but she didn’t say any­thing about a mis­un­der­stand­ing.

The le­gal fight be­tween the peo­ple who pur­chased con­dos in Har­bour Tow­ers and the de­vel­op­ers might sim­ply be a cau­tion­ary tale for any­one think­ing about in­vest­ing there.

But it should also be a warn­ing siren for city development au­thor­i­ties as they await the next pro­ject by the Tagli­ate­las and Sil­vestri: Ship­way 221, pro­posed for Howard Street.

A failed pro­ject with so many un­sold units and an­gry and dis­grun­tled buy­ers are not good call­ing cards.

When I reached him this week, Steven Lopes, the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer for sev­eral Tagli­atela fam­ily development com­pa­nies, said they still are look­ing for a development part­ner for the Ship­way pro­ject.

When I asked whether Sil­vestri is still the pro­ject man­ager for Ship­way, as he is listed on doc­u­ments sub­mit­ted for city ap­provals, Lopes said he can’t be a pro­ject man­ager be­cause there is no pro­ject.

He said Sil­vestri has been and con­tin­ues to be in­volved in ob­tain­ing

ap­provals for the development.

The Re­nais­sance City Development As­so­ci­a­tion granted the Tagli­ate­las a six-month ex­ten­sion of its development agree­ment, which was to have ex­pired at the end of April.

That looks to me like more months be­fore the RCDA goes back to square one, with one more failed development pro­ject on its chalk­board. There has yet to be one suc­cess­ful new build­ing built on the penin­sula that was shame­fully cleared by em­i­nent do­main.

An­other death bell tolling for Ship­way is the link on RCDA’s web site, which leads to a non­func­tion­ing web­site, Ship­way221.com.

In­deed, the RCDA’s own web­site could use some tend­ing. The last meet­ing min­utes posted there are from Fe­bru­ary. And the agency might want to re­think a home­page pic­ture fea­tur­ing a sign­ing of the Ship­way development papers by a guy who has been locked out of an­other pro­ject he de­vel­oped in the city.

None of this is en­cour­ag­ing for Mayor Michael Passero’s development strat­egy, in which he projects Ship­way and an­other sub­ur­ban-style apart­ment com­plex on Howard Street will breathe new life into the down­town.

Given the lat­est ex­ten­sion of development agree­ments, it seems un­likely, in the event the Ship­way pro­ject doesn’t go for­ward, that an al­ter­na­tive development would be started be­fore the end of the mayor’s first term.

The mayor’s bet on re­sus­ci­tat­ing the long un­suc­cess­ful re­de­vel­op­ment agency, which his pre­de­ces­sor had pledged to abol­ish, is not look­ing very promis­ing right now.

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